Speaking of Summer

Available

Description

A "powerful song about what it means to survive as a woman in America" (Jesmyn Ward), this "fiercely astute" novel follows a sister determined to uncover the truth about her twin's disappearance (Tayari Jones).

On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer's twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and the snow holds only one set of footprints. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing Black woman, Autumn must pursue the search for her sister all on her own.

With her friends and neighbors, Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis. But the loss becomes too great, the mystery too inexplicable, and Autumn starts to unravel, all the while becoming obsessed with the various murders of local women and the men who kill them, thinking their stories and society's complacency toward them might shed light on what really happened to her sister.

In Speaking of Summer, critically acclaimed author Kalisha Buckhanon has created a fast-paced story of urban peril and victim invisibility, and the fight to discover the complicated truths at the heart of every family.

Product Details

Price
$26.00  $23.92
Publisher
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
July 30, 2019
Pages
304
Dimensions
6.2 X 1.2 X 9.1 inches | 1.25 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781640091917
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

KALISHA BUCKHANON is the author of the novels Solemn, Conception, and Upstate, which was selected as an inaugural National Book Foundation Literature for Justice title. Her other honors include an American Library Association Alex Award, an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship, Pushcart Prize and Hurston/Wright Awards nominations, and a Terry McMillan Young Author Award. She also appears on Investigation Discovery, BET, and TV One as a true crime expert in cases involving women. She lives in Chicago. Find out more at kalisha.com.

Reviews

Praise for Speaking of Summer

USA Today, 1 of 5 Books Not to Miss
USA Today, 1 of 20 of the Season's Hottest New Books
O, The Oprah Magazine, 1 of 25 Best Beach Reads of the Year So Far
New York Post, 1 of the 25 Best Beach Reads of the Year
Chicago Review of Books, One of the Best New Books of the Month
BBC Culture, 1 of 10 Smartest Beach Reads of the Year
CrimeReads, 1 of the 10 Best Psychological Thrillers of the Year
Refinery29, Get Your Hands on These July Books
Bustle, 1 of 50 New Books of Summer
Bustle, 1 of 40 New Thrillers Out This Summer That Make the Perfect Vacation Reads
Bustle, 1 of 27 New Books Out in July to Get You Through the Sweaty Days of Summer
The Millions, Most Anticipated
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 of 9 Mysteries and Thrillers to Give You an Adrenaline Rush This Summer
One of Sisters in Crime's July Picks
Fast Company, 1 of 69 New Movies, TV Shows, Albums, and Books You Must Check Out This Month

One of The Skimm's Best Books to Read Before Summer Ends
Bustle, 1 of 15 Labor Day 2019 Books to Help You Finish Off Your Summer Reading with a Bang
BETTER, NBC News, 1 of 20 End-of-Summer Beach Reads
Parade, 1 of 10 Suspense Novels to Get You in the Mood for Fall

"Novels of psychological suspense often employ unreliable narrators--think Gone Girl or Shutter Island--but Buckhanon, who's also known for her work as an on-air true crime expert, employs the device not to keep readers off-balance, but rather to evoke Autumn's fragility and raise universal questions about mental illness, racism, and love . . . Fiercely astute." --Tayari Jones, O, The Oprah Magazine

"Powerful." --Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post, 1 of 10 Books to Read This Month

"Buckhanon unravels a powerful story that examines violence, race and grief." --Annabel Gutterman, Time

"In her fourth novel, writer Kalisha Buckhanon sheds light on often-overlooked stories of victims and their families." --Time, 1 of 32 Books You Need to Read This Summer

"Thrilling." --David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly, 1 of 20 New Books to Read This Month

"Speaking of Summer is an absolutely riveting thriller about a woman who's desperate to find her missing twin sister amid a criminal justice system that's weighted against people of color. Come for Kalisha Buckhanon's addictive writing and stay for a truly mind-blowing twist." --Mehera Bonner, Cosmopolitan, One of the Best Beach-Worthy Books of the Month

"Buckhanon gradually reveals the complex mystery of this brilliant yet fragile woman." --Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture

"A page-turning mystery with much to say about race and family." --Libby Sile, Real Simple

"Kalisha Buckhanon's characters are both fearless and haunted, brave and burdened by the past. Speaking of Summer gives us a powerful song about what it means to survive as a woman in America." --Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award winner and author of Sing, Unburied, Sing

"Kalisha Buckhanon's Speaking of Summer is a spellbinding masterpiece, a riveting read from a young woman who has become a major American storyteller." --Sapphire, author of Push and The Kid

"Who cares about the disappearance of Summer--a beautiful, broken Black woman? No one but her twin sister, Autumn. Yet things are not always as they appear in this absorbing drama that is equal parts women's fiction and suspense thriller. As it plumbs the fissures of the human psyche, Speaking of Summer endures the devastation of loss and embraces the power of love." --Sandra Jackson-Opoku, author of The River Where Blood Is Born and Hot Johnny (and the Women Who Loved Him)

"Kalisha Buckhanon's Speaking of Summer is that rarest of books--a culturally crucial literary novel that contains the raw, beating heart of a thriller. Buckhanon juggles themes of race and ethnicity, mental health and addiction, along with sibling loyalty and rivalry. Best of all is a secret, not entirely unfurled till the end, that compels the reader to solve the mystery of Summer." --Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of Cover of Snow and Wicked River

"Speaking of Summer has everything: beauty, bite, raw truth, nail-biting urgency, and a central mystery that's both timely and timeless." --Abby Geni, author of The Wildlands and The Lightkeepers

"This audacious blend of mystery, family drama, intimate characterization, and sensitive exploration of the personal and social implications of loss is the author's finest work to date. This is a New York story for the ages, the country, the world." --Colin Channer, author of Passing Through and Waiting in Vain

"A mysterious and haunting tale about the powerlessness of women of color and society's indifference toward them. But also about their indomitable will to survive." --Connie Briscoe, New York Times bestselling author of P.G. County and Sisters & Lovers

"With absorbing prose, fast-moving plot and excellent dialogue, Buckhanon examines silence in the face of patriarchy and white supremacy, and the dynamics of family."--Sara Neilson, The Brooklyn Rail

"Kalisha Buckhanon has created a narrative voice that's authentic, emotionally charged and wise, but beneath the surface of the story lurks the unraveling of a life and how 'even the biological imperative to survive' can sometimes lose against the 'power of past experiences.' Buckhanon has crafted a deeply moving psychological mystery with twists that come in unhurried moments like the small notes the sisters buried in bottles in their garden shed. I'm going to be talking about Summer for a while." --Carole E. Barrowman, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

"The book starts as a mystery, twists into a dangerous thriller, shifts into a romance, and it finally sprouts into a journey of finding self . . . Observing Autumn's survival is a rewarding experience." --Tony Lindsay, Chicago Defender

"This uniquely gripping psychological mystery explores patriarchy, racial prejudice and the dynamics of a fractured family in crisis." --Rabeea Saleem, Book Riot, 1 of the 7 Buzziest Beach Reads of the Year

"A voice for the invisible." --Keyaira Boone, Essence, 1 of 10 Books We're Dying to Toss into Our Summer Totes

"What do you do when your twin, your other half, disappears, and no one seems to notice? . . . Buckhanon (Solemn, 2016) captures Autumn's frustration at the undervaluing of Black women, accompanied by the creeping gentrification of her Harlem neighborhood. Not only are individual Black women disappearing, so are the communities that keep them safe." --Booklist (starred review)

"A dynamic and important story that will provoke needed conversations about the devastating effects of trauma and mental illness." --Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books

"Throughout the novel, we follow along in a search for Summer, sure, but more than anything we're given a window into racial injustice in the United States and the toll on a woman's mental health when a family, specifically an African American family is disrupted. The plot twists and whodunnits seem secondary; this novel is about who cares, and who doesn't when a black woman goes missing." --Laura Jaye Cramer, HYPEBAE

"This is social justice noir meets psycho-noir, with an end twist you'll never see coming." --Molly Odintz, CrimeReads, 1 of 13 Books to Read This Month

"Buckhanon's literary thriller is a deeply felt, searching portrait of twin sisters." --CrimeReads, One of the Most Anticipated Crime Books of Summer

"Mysterious urgency is what drives this complex and suspenseful novel, which follows 34-year-old Autumn as she sacrifices her professional and personal life--as well as her emotional and psychological wellbeing--in the pursuit of her missing sister, Summer. The story unravels in Autumn's mind, reading at times like a stream of consciousness with flashbacks woven throughout, and culminates in a powerful story of discovery--on the surface, a search for Autumn's sister, but ultimately an excavation of herself." --Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed

"An immensely enjoyable psychological thriller, with a richly-evoked setting, lively characters, and an engrossing plot." --Rebecca Hussey, Book Riot

"Boldly drawn characters and a strong sense of place distinguish this sinuous, slow-burning fusion of mystery and literary fiction . . . The sisters' story beguiles and intrigues all the way through to the insightful, hope-filled epilogue." --Katrina Niidas Holm, Mystery Scene

"Buckhanon's literary psychothriller is a deeply felt, searching portrait of twin sisters, one of them mysteriously disappeared from the Harlem brownstone where they live, the other left behind and forced to deal with the inexplicable vanishing, eventually driven by her grief and confusion into launching an investigation of her own." --Dwyer Murphy, Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Summer

"Explores the most intimate family relationships, while tackling the subject of race relations and urban degradation in America today." --Rupert Hawksley, The National, 1 of 19 Unmissable Books to Read This Summer

"Perfectly paced action and emotional depth." --Demetria Irwin, The Grio, 1 of 16 Books to Kick Off Your Fall Reading List

"This fast-paced story is lyrical and blood boiling all at the same time. This isn't your typical thriller, but rather a tale that goes deeper into the root of the problem: our society." --Domino, 1 of 20 Best Summer Books

"A deeply moving psychological mystery with twists that come in unhurried moments." --Identity

"Speaking of Summer is Autumn's story, Autumn's obsession and Autumn's keen desire to understand a world that dismisses the humanity of Black women, and the men who kill them, which takes center stage as Buckhanon's expertly paced novel builds to an unexpected conclusion." --Kerry McHugh, Shelf Awareness

"Interesting and engaging." --Brendan Buck, Newcity Lit

"A thriller through and through . . . A true mystery has more elements than just the central whodunnit--and Speaking of Summer has so much more to say about the state of things than a simple missing persons case . . . This story blends in real-life headlines of wrongful deaths, imprisonments, and disappearances of people of color to help illustrate what is driving Autumn in her search. It's more than just a search for her missing sister, it's a search for justice for all the black men and women who have not been given their dues. It's a touch that packs the punch of cultural relevance and grounds the narrative in reality without pulling focus away from Autumn's own story." --Rachel Gonzalez, Paperback Paris

"Set in modern Harlem, this powerful thriller seeks to reveal truth despite injustice." --PEN America

"Buckhanon weaves the complexities of trauma, sibling rivalry, family history, violence against women and issues of race into the story with such passion and skill . . . The cultural relevance of Speaking of Summer makes this a must-read." --Kailey Brennan, Write or Die Tribe

"Uses crime fiction as a way to magnify issues of racial injustice, focusing on how violence against black women is disproportionately ignored by law enforcement." --Publishers Weekly

"The novel explores issues of race, gender, and violence with nuance . . . Buckhanon understands the complexities of trauma. Her portrait of Autumn's grief, fragmented memories, and inner turmoil all synthesize current scientific research on how people cope with traumatic experiences and might seek to heal." --Kirkus Reviews

"There is a frenetic and abstract quality to the writing, but it matches the state of mind of the unreliable narrator. Readers looking for contemporary suspense with a social justice twist will appreciate the storytelling." --Library Journal

"Lyrical and luscious, Speaking of Summer is a literary gift." --Bernice L. McFadden, author of Praise Song for the Butterflies